With OTAs underway, the biggest storyline to come out of Eagles camp was the health of Carson Wentz. However, Wentz wasn’t the only big storyline to emerge from the team workouts.

Malcolm Jenkins skipped the start of OTAs, likely because of issues with his contract. If Jenkins does indeed want more money, the Eagles must give him just that.

On his current contract, Jenkins has two-years and $22.3 million remaining, and in 2019, Jenkins is due $11.387 million. To a normal person, it would be hard to understand why someone would complain about getting that much money, but looking deeper into the issue, Jenkins’ reported frustrations make sense.

As a safety, Jenkins’ average salary ranks out to be just the 9th-most at the position in the league. However, Jenkins is much more than just an average safety.

In 2018, safety wasn’t even Jenkins’ primary position. In total, Jenkins played more snaps at linebacker than safety, and he also played cornerback at times as well. Jenkins did it all for the Eagles, and without him, the defense would not function.

Moving back towards the topic of money, the contract of Jenkins becomes even more of a problem when considering he plays linebacker and cornerback as well. If Jenkins were listed as a linebacker, his average salary would rank just 21st at the position, and at cornerback, Jenkins’ salary would rank 25th.

What makes Jenkins even more impressive is his durability. Last season, Jenkins didn’t miss a single defensive snap, playing all 1,180 snaps. On top of that, Jenkins had a formidable role on special teams, playing 158 snaps in that department as well.

It’s one thing for a player to be able to be used at multiple positions, for a consistent period of play, but it’s another thing for that player to excel, and Jenkins has done just that.

In his five seasons in Philadelphia, Jenkins has been selected to the Pro Bowl in three of those seasons, including consecutive selections in the last two seasons. Ever since signing in Philadelphia, Jenkins has played in and started all 80 regular season games, has 11 interceptions, including four pick-6’s, 50 pass deflections, 418 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, and eight forced fumbles.

Jenkins has always been there for the Eagles defense when they’ve needed him, and he’s consistently been one of their best players as well. When Jenkins was signed back in 2014, it was with the eventual goal of winning a Super Bowl, and he was one of the leading forces in the teams victory in Super Bowl LII.

Now, let’s get back to Jenkins skipping OTAs.

In a perfect world, every player would show up to every team activity. However, OTAs are voluntary, and it’s hard to criticize a player for skipping them considering the activities put the players at risk of suffering injury, despite the regular season being just over three months away. This season, the first example of the downside of participating in OTAs came when Oakland Raiders running back Isaiah Crowell suffered a torn Achilles on the very first day of team activities.

However, Jenkins doesn’t plan on just skipping OTAs. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jenkins plans on skipping mandatory minicamp in June, unless he gets what he wants, which is a pay raise. If Jenkins skips mandatory team activities later this month, he will be facing a fine of $80,000. The last stretch of OTAs will be held from June 3rd to June 6th, and Jenkins isn’t expected to be in attendance.

Jenkins may skip mandatory team activities, but the narrative that he is truly unhappy in Philadelphia and doesn’t want to be a part of the team is false.

Jenkins was at Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation Charity Softball Game on May 31, and he was talking with his teammates, along with posing for pictures with the media.


Jenkins is also staying in touch with his teammates on the football field as well. Jenkins spent Memorial Day with all of the players in the Eagles secondary, and he is also in touch with players in the secondary every day.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham talked about Jenkins’ absence, and he says the team has to get Jenkins back into the fold.

“We need him. I know Howie and them, they’re going to take care of business,” Graham said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to take care of your business no matter what, because when you’re on that field, you’ve got to make sure you cover yourself as a player, and obviously they’ve got to cover themselves as an organization.”

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz mimicked what Graham said, as he talked about Jenkins’ important to the defense. However, Schwartz believes the team can count on Jenkins to be around when they need him.

“I know this, when all chips are down, you’ll be able to count on Malcolm Jenkins,” Schwartz said. “And a lot of other guys we’re trying to find that out about, and that’s what they’re doing here at this time of year. Malcolm has some of those credits already in his bank account.”

The message is clear: the Eagles need Jenkins, and they have to do what it takes to get him back with the team. The Eagles currently have $27.5 million in cap space available, which in part is for use in case of an emergency, and the Jenkins situation certainly qualifies as that.

Eagles Nation was polled on this topic, and it seems they agree that Jenkins’ base salary of $8.1 million should get a bump:

The Eagles must pay Jenkins the money he wants and deserves. Once that happens, Jenkins will come back to the team and reassume his role as the leader of the defense as the team prepares to make a run this season at a second Super Bowl.

Featured Image: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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